n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Challenges faced by ex-inmates after their release from incarceration in the democratic South Africa

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


Recidivism amongst ex-inmates has received a good deal of attention from the departments of Justice and Correctional Services, as well as social and behavioural scientists in South Africa. However, less attention has been paid to the challenges facing ex-inmates during and after their release from incarceration. This article briefly describes the conditions in the South African correctional system with reference to the inmate release programme in the post-1994 democratic South Africa. The article briefly discusses the theoretical foundations relevant to this study. In order to understand the identified challenges, namely: substance abuse, lack of accommodation, community and family support and access to employment that ex-inmates face, one-hundred-and-forty-four ex-inmates participated in this study. The data was collected by means of focus group interviews. Two focus groups interviews consisting of eight ex-inmates per group were conducted in all provinces of South Africa. The results of this study indicated that both male and female ex-inmates, upon their return back into society from incarceration, face a number of daunting challenges. These challenges include finding employment, problems related to substance abuse, and maintaining a stable relationship with families and members of the communities to which they return.

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